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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Thursday / March 4.
  • Moe Hicks, the Director of Basketball Operations at St. John’s, gave a written statement Wednesday to the NCAA regarding his past involvement with incoming St. John’s player Maurice Harkless, according to a source with direct knowledge.

    “He had to give a statement yesterday,” the source said.

    St. John’s declined comment, other than to confirm they are working with the NCAA on the matter.

    As first reported Wednesday night by ZAGSBLOG, St. John’s is working with the NCAA to decide whether the 6-foot-8 Harkless, the jewel of Steve Lavin’s nine-man recruiting class, will be eligible to play at St. John’s next season.

    At issue is whether Hicks, the former program director with the New York Gauchos AAU program, is considered by the NCAA an “individual associated with a prospect,” or IAWP as it relates to Harkless.

    In his effort to rebuild the program at St. Benedict’s Prep, new coach Mark Taylor is reaching into New York City.

    Kevin Mickle, a 6-foot-7, 191-pound sophomore wing from Adelphi Academy, will attend the Newark school next season, and Melvin Johnson, a 6-3, 185-pound two guard out of Rice High is considering attending.

    “I think it’s a great coaching staff over there that can help me get to a certain point that I want to play,” Mickle said by phone.

    St. Ben’s is a prep school and Mickle said he planned to live in the dorms.

    The coaching change at Maryland has cost the Terps another commit.

    Rising junior Justin Anderson of Montrose Christian announced he will head to Virginia to play for head coach Tony Bennett instead of remaining committed to Maryland.

    Anderson is the third former Maryland commit to change his mind after Mark Turgeon’s hiring, following senior point guard Sterling Gibbs (Texas) and forward Martin Breunig (uncommitted). Senior guard Nick Faust remained committed to the Terps.

    “The Cavaliers were always my second choice behind Maryland,” said Anderson, the No. 3 small forward in the Class of 2012 per Rivals. “Also, my family lives in Virginia. After the departure of Coach [Gary] Williams and Coach [Robert] Ehsan it just feels like the right fit.”

    The Ryan Harrow Sweepstakes is over.

    The N.C. State transfer picked Kentucky over Texas, Louisville, St. John’s and Georgia.

    “I just felt that they were the best school that would help me reach my goals,” Harrow said Thursday morning by text. “Not to knock any other school because all the schools were great.”

    Asked if St. John’s was on his final list, he said, “Yes, they were.”

    Kentucky coach John Calipari has sent four straight freshman guards to the lottery: Derrick Rose, Tyreke Evans, John Wall and Brandon Knight (with Knight expected to go this year). Incoming point guard Marquis Teague could be a lottery pick in 2012.

    In the eyes of St. John’s, there is a distinction between Mo and Momo.

    St. John’s signee Maurice “Mo” Harkless played a couple of events with the New York Gauchos AAU program in the spring of 2010, but was never directly coached by Moe Hicks, now the Director of Basketball Operations at St. John’s.

    Lamont “Momo” Jones, by contrast, was directly coached by Hicks for two years at Rice High School.

    St. John’s believes an NCAA rule implemented in 2010 means that while Jones likely can’t play at the school until at least 2012, Harkless is free and clear to join the program this fall.

    Jordan Goodman, a 6-foot-10, 215-pound power forward with pro potential, has decommitted from Rutgers for the Class of 2012.

    Jordan and his father, Deon Goodman, wanted to make it clear that they hope to maintain a positive relationship with Rutgers associate head coach David Cox, who recruited Jordan.

    “It’s a friendly, mutual separation because we want to look at some other options right now,” Deon said by phone. “Jordan had a relationship with Dave Cox that goes back to when he lived in Maryland. We have all the respect in the world for David Cox.

    “We just want to open up other avenues and find a different scenario for Jordan to be in.”

    As first reported on my Twitter, former Seton Hall forward Anali Okoloji is transferring to George Mason.

    “Anali is excited about playing for a coach who has coached in a high major college program, who is also a great teacher of the game and who has a good number of players in the NBA,” said his high school coach, Wendell Saunders of Banneker. “He also would like to experience playing in the NCAA Tournament and he feels George Mason would have a better chance by the time he plays because Coach [Paul] Hewitt has a track record for recruiting talent.”